February 01, 1988 12:00 PM

Here is a video that wants to put you to sleep. Aimed at the nation’s estimated 76 million insomniacs, this 40-minute guide offers a do-and-don’t regimen to overcome minor sleep disorders. What causes insomnia? It may be wine with dinner, a chocolate snack or exercise before bed, cold remedies or pills for weight control and birth control. Even sleeping pills, if overused, can disrupt a good night’s snooze. Insomnia is often curable, but it may call for an exhausting change in behavior patterns. Don’t pay bills or plan parties before bed, says the tape’s host, psychologist Robert Schachter, a therapist and assistant professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in Manhattan. A warm bath and a glass of milk are preludes to sleep; smoking and drinking alcohol are not. Schachter’s advice is sometimes obvious (make sure your bed is neither too soft nor too hard) and other times impractical (call a truce in an argument an hour before bedtime). Viewers can follow a series of head-to-toe exercises before the tape drifts off with a montage of natural scenes that are so bland it ought to make a Rip van Winkle of anyone. (Simon & Schuster, $19.95; 800-972-5858, Operator 279)

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